If you’re spending a lot of time in the car on your next road trip, you definitely have to keep your eye on the weather. From rain to snow and even fog, driving in an area you’re unfamiliar with while dealing with bad weather can spell disaster.
Just don’t make the mistake of thinking the weather is the only thing you have to look out for! There are other things you need to be aware of, especially if you plan on spending a lot of time behind the wheel the next time you go on vacation.
You should never drink and drive, and you especially shouldn’t drink and drive when you’re on vacation. The combination of drinking more than you normally might, driving in an area you are unfamiliar with, and driving an unfamiliar car, if you rented your vehicle, greatly increases your chances of injuring yourself or someone else.
From regular DUIs to underage drinking, aggravated DUIs, and even boating DUIs, there are many examples of common drinking and driving crimes. Keep your eyes open in the late evening and early morning hours, but you should also be aware of other drivers’ behavior during the day if you’re in a large city or you’re celebrating during a holiday or spring break. If someone is driving erratically, give them plenty of space on the road and consider calling and reporting them to the local police department.
Potholes can severely damage your car. They can affect your tires by causing them to blow out or leak air, they can bend your wheel, and they can wreak havoc on your suspension, causing your car to pull to the right or left.
When you’re driving somewhere new, you aren’t aware of existing potholes like you might be closer to home. Look at the overall quality of the road to see if the likelihood of running into a pothole is high. You should also slow your speed and keep your eyes on the road when you’re driving through town, as slower speed areas are more likely to have them.
You should also be on the lookout for potholes in areas that experience cold weather, and especially keep your eyes peeled if you’re traveling at the end of winter or the beginning of spring, as that’s when most potholes develop.
If you see a construction zone, you know you’re going to be asked to slow your speed. Although you may be tempted to zoom on by to keep good time, that’s a bad idea.
Not only does it put the construction workers in danger, it puts you in danger too. Dozens of motorists die in states throughout the US due to construction zones.
Even if it means getting to your destination later than you planned, you should slow down in construction zones. You should also:
- Obey all flags and roadside flaggers
- Merge as soon as possible
- Use extra caution when driving through construction at night
- Adjust your lane position away from equipment, if possible
- Consider using an alternate route
You know you should lookout for pedestrians when driving through the city, but you may not be aware of animals that could be lurking in rural areas.
For example, if you’re driving through a wooded area in the fall, you need to be on the lookout for deer. Raccoons and opossums can cause trouble in rural areas, while bunny rabbits, squirrels, and cats can pop up out of nowhere in the middle of town. Be aware of your surroundings and slow down if you suspect animals may be near.
Poor Road Design
You may not have given much thought to road design, but it can greatly affect your safety. Poor road design can take you by surprise and make you more likely to experience an accident.
For example, short entrance ramps and tight cloverleafs can cause you to pick up speed inside a curve that’s a little too tight, potentially causing your car to tip over. Bike lanes located between regular traffic and turn lanes, low visibility when turning, and cramped lanes are a few other examples. Drive with caution whenever road design makes you feel nervous.
By all means, be on the lookout for rain and snow on your next road trip, but there are plenty of other things to look out for! Keep yourself, your passengers, and everyone else on the road safe by being aware of other things that could go wrong on the road.